“Live: Return of the Storyteller,” Todd Snider (Aimless Records/Thirty Tigers)
On Todd Snider’s new solo live album, some of his best riffs involve no notes.
The stoner troubadour and cosmic comic shares tales of the road, from tripping on a beach in California to a miscommunication meltdown in Montana. The latter cut lives up to its title: “Free Bird.” Reminiscences about several late friends include not one, not two, but three stories regarding John Prine. Snider also banters about Alan Greenspan, chasing songs, the downside of vintage clothing and the upside of living out his own kind of American dream.
It’s at times poignant and often very funny. While Snider deploys one-liners as hooks, there are songs, too, some decades old as he draws on a deep and varied catalog.
This live album deals a lot with death, and Snider weighs existential and spiritual matters while always looking for levity. The 95-minute set allows plenty of time to sum up his free-spirit philosophy: Everything in moderation, including moderation, life is a party or should be and every day is Friday night.
Recorded after Snider returned to touring following a pandemic hiatus, “Live: Return of the Storyteller” is a valuable snapshot of the peripatetic folkie’s enduring appeal, and a worthy follow-up to his excellent 2011 live set.
There’s more high hilarity to come.
“I’m just going to keep playing songs,” Snider says between tunes, “until I can’t do it.”
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